What are the valve color codes?

Color coding valve tags is an important form of visual communication. When followed properly, employees will be able to identify what type of fluid or gas will come out of a valve when it is opened at just a glance. Even if there is no other information available on the valve tag, the color will provide enough to make a decision on whether the valve should be opened in most cases.

ANSI/ASME Labeling Standards

In most situations, it will be necessary to follow the ANSI/ASME standards for color coding pipe labels. The following are some of the key color codes to be aware of, though there are others:

  • Fire Quenching Fluids – Red background with White Text
  • Corrosive or Toxic Fluids – Orange Background with Black Text
  • Oxidizing or Flammable Fluids – Yellow Background with Black Text
  • Combustible Fluids – Brown Background with White Text
  • Other Water – Green Background with White Text
  • Compressed Air – Blue Background with White Text

In addition to these standards, there are several color combinations that are set aside for user-defined purposes. This allows each facility to set their own standards when using fluids or other solutions that don’t fit in a pre-determined category. The user defined options are purple background with white text, white background with black text, gray background with white text, and black background with white text.

Following Set Standards

The above-mentioned standards are among the most common used in industries today. In most cases, however, the ANSI/ASME standards aren’t actually mandatory. Companies follow them because they are proven to help improve safety and having the same standards as other facilities makes it easier for everyone to understand what the colors mean. If these specific colors don’t make sense in your situation, it is permissible to come up with a set of standards followed in the facility as long all employees are aware of it.


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